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Shanks: Give SGU a chance

Tuesday - September 1, 2009
Category: ACTORS

The Stargate fan base is nothing if not fruitfully diverse, and Michael Shanks (“Dr. Daniel Jackson”) has been one of several actors at the epicenter for over a decade.

The franchise’s third incarnation, Stargate Universe, is due to hit the airwaves this fall. The established fandom is once again reaching out with its diversity of opinions, and battle lines are being drawn.

Shanks has seen this firsthand, both in online message boards and at the Creation 2009 Chicago convention where we had the chance to catch up with him.

“I’ve never seen so many knives being sharpened for a show being aired, especially by the fans of the franchise, as I’ve seen over this past year when it came to Universe,” Shanks told GateWorld’s Chad Colvin. “I’ve also seen a lot of love for it. … But I’m just kind of surprised at the waiting-in-the-wings tension that is almost desirous for this thing to fall on its face. And I think that’s a mistake.”

Shanks has already filmed two guest spots for Universe, including the pilot episode for the series in which he makes a cameo. But it’s enough for him to draw some conclusions from the scripts he has read and the professionalism he has seen on set.

“The shows, at the end of each episode, they don’t wrap up nicely in a nice little bow,” Shanks said. “They’re not bottle shows. It’s very much an arc driven series. The interplay between the characters bleeds into the next one and the next one. The tensions and the relationships … So it’s very arc driven. By missing an episode of SG-1, eh, no big deal. Missing an episode of this might be a bit confusing for the viewers.

“I think that one of things that people should respect about this show is that what they’ve always felt about the Stargate universe is that they love the characters. They want to know the characters more. This show is going to allow you to do that. More so than we had the opportunities in doing it in our series. If that is what people always loved about it, this is the show that’s going to give [it to them].

“Is it going to have as much humor in it? I don’t know. I haven’t seen it. I doubt it. But there’s certainly going to be a lot more character driven drama, angst, conflict and relationship interaction than ever in a Stargate show.”

Many fans of SG-1 and Atlantis have already made up their minds about whether or not they will give SGU a chance. Shanks suggests that we reserve judgment and risk a couple of hours on the pilot.

“I think the most important thing is watch the show,” he said. “Judge from what you see. I didn’t think much about it until I watched the trailer that they had done for the pilot and I went ‘Wow! This looks cool!’ And I know from interacting with that cast, they’ve got a great group there. They have some amazing actors led by the profoundly amazing Robert Carlyle, who I couldn’t say enough about. I think it’s worth a look. I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.”

One thing is certain: Universe will give birth to many brand new Stargate fans who will be watching to see if we are a group worth joining. Those of us already aboard the franchise will have to make room.

Watch GateWorld for the exclusive interview with Michael Shanks in the weeks to come! Stargate Universe premieres October 2 on SyFy in the United States.

David Read is GateWorld's co-editor, and has been with the site since 2003. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where he works for eBay. (More)

COMMENTS (109):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • Heh heh, Dr. Michael (Huggy Bear) Jackson, Pimp Daddy extraordinaire, in a heart rending new role, where he begs viewers to wach SGU :)

  • Like Atlantis before it, I don’t see any point in condemning a show before I get a chance to watch it. People that read the spoilers are only going to see the facts and not the context with how the show deals with stuff.

    I avoid spoilers at all costs, which is why I don’t bother to go to the GateWorld forums until after both SG-1 & Atlantis were over.

    Besides, having seen TPTB run Atlantis into the ground, I’m more patient to see the whole path of a season before I say what’s good or bad.

    SG-1 had a cast that just clicked, but Atlantis just had the McKay & Sheppard show at the expense of other characters

  • It smells like desperation when actors from an original show start pleading with the fandom to watch a spinoff. Not much confidence there, huh? If Universe is so awesome then a little online schadenfreude should be no obstacle at all, right? At least TPTB will be all set to play the blame game if Universe does bomb, pointing their fingers at those SG-1 and Atlantis fans who never gave their precious new show a chance, those big meanies!

  • Mr. Shamks has a good poit. It’s important to actually watch the show before you voice your opinion of it, otherwise you will just look stupid.

  • I made a stupid typo. I wrote Shamks, instead of Shanks. Silly me! :p

  • So, even when one of the Gods of Stargate, Michael Shanks, asks you to give SGU a chance, you won’t do it. Look, I hate that both SG1 & SA were canceled just as much as everyone else, but, Spify did not want to pay the higher budget for a sixth season of SA, it was cheaper to start another spin-off show, end of story. Can we all move on now? Oh, we can’t, I didn’t think so. One month to go.

  • The show is going to be, darker and character based.
    And I don’t like that type of show.
    I don’t doubt it will be a very high quality show but if it didn’t have the name Stargate on I wouldn’t even still be reading about it.
    As it is, I will watch the first episode but until then, give me one reason (other than the fact it is Stargate) why I should assume I will like it.
    I don’t like dark, character based shows, that’s my personal preference,
    I can’t change my what I like.
    And so far I don’t like anything that has been said about the show, it’s not my fault I don’t like it, I just don’t.
    I will give it a chance (I never said I wouldn’t) but nothing will stop me assuming the worst and posting about it.
    So long as I have freedom of speech I will express my opinion.
    If I do like the show it will be the FIRST of this type of show that I like and that is unlikely.
    Don’t judge me just because I refuse to praise anything with the name Stargate on.

  • Well, I’d say the MGM and Syfy PR folks should take a look at this! For Michael to say he sees so much negativity is pretty amazing. That is, it’s not biased fans hyping the amount of negativity; it’s widespread. Anyway I applaud Michael for defending the show, and I think he’s being sincere. He doesn’t have much to gain — he already got paid for his appearances. :)

  • Hmmm…I have to wonder if the PTBs “suggested” that Mr. Shanks make some sort of statement. Could it be that they are worried about their precious new show?
    Doesn’t really matter. Like everyone else, I have the right to my own opinion and the right to watch (or not watch) whatever I choose. And I choose NOT to watch SGU. Ever.

  • Truthfully, I found there was very little of the characters’ personalities on display in the trailers. Hard to build anticipation from folks rolling around on the ground looking wide-eyed, but I’ll take HIS word for it and watch with an open mind. Um. Don’t suppose you can post the audio from this interview? :-D

  • I completely support Michael Shanks with what he says because I’ve been saying the same thing! We’re both totally on the same wavelength about “Stargate: Universe”.

    I sincerely urge people to follow Mr. Shanks’ advice. What he says is true and, at the end of the day, just common sense.

  • I think a lot of the animosity comes from the way the other 2 series were ended (and perhaps other shows as well). I for one am not apprehensive that the show will be phenomenal, I am apprehensive that the show will only air for a few seasons (say 5, or god forbid go the Firefly route, and only ever have a handful of episodes), only to be canceled by a network that needs the viewership.

    I guess what I’m saying is; I don’t think the fan base worries about the show as a show. They worry about the (now) SYFY channel pulling its normal business practices. I think fans would be a lot more secure, and excited if the show was being aired on one of the other network cable outlets.

  • I am very passionate about good sci-fi and get p.o’d at Universal/NBC/SYFY all the time for their “forget the fans” attitude and lies about the economy. However, I will watch SGU to see if it’s good or not. I never thought I would watch more than one episode of BSG and I just loved it. Now Caprica I know I will not like because of the DVD movie. SUX. SGU has no such advance device so I am looking forward to the 1st episode. Only a month to go.

  • Well I guess I must fall into the narrow minded group, because I think this is going to suck big time an NOT WATCHING, just dont want to. It so not interesting, wont even bother with the pilot, pointless exercise.

  • While I admit to still being upset over the cancellation of SGA, the reason I will not be tuning in is that I have watched the trailers, read the character descriptions, tweets, articles, etc., and it does not appeal to me in the least.
    The WAY in which SGA’s cancellation was handled does nothing but add to my disinterest, but did not create it.

  • I am looking forward to it cause there is absolutely nothing else of value on TV without 24, Prison Break or Heroes on.

    It’s a shame it couldn’t of started in June, would of been a nice distraction from the absolute torture of being a Mets fan.

  • I like Michael an I love the character Daniel I really do, but the whole of SG1 an SGA combined could not make me watch this travesty of a show. Dark angst an edgy drama with a reality twist it not what I like. I disliked BSG did not like Firefly can not stand Lost an any of those types of show an really loath solely charactor driven plots. Add that to the fact this is not going to be a family friendly show an that is it a done deal. This is one very ex Stargate fan.

  • Me I am still SO angry about SGA being stopped, that it does have an effect on how I feel about SGU. If it didnt I would just think SGU was a bad idea but with the way SGA was handled its plain terrible IMO. Thats why I wont be watching Michael, life to short to waste on watching crap.

  • wait…. so am I understanding this correctly? There are actually Stargate fans that won’t even watch the pilot episode? I mean I understand watching a few episodes, and making a decision. But you’ve seen enough in a few promo shots, and some spoilers that have made the decision for you without ever experiencing it?

    Let me ask this then… I have some land it’s BEAUTIFUL… now I know you’ve never seen it, but seriously I’ll sell it to you for a steal. You’ll make 100% profit easily… interested?

  • I always intended to give the show a chance (especially to see Robert Carlyle take on the franchise)and am still more than willing, it basically comes to this, I like to watch good TV, I only know if a show is good TV for me if I give it a chance, the rest is up to the show.

  • You know, if I had tons of good feelings surrounding the SG franchise, I MIGHT have tuned into this latest venture, despite the fact that it doesn’t look like anything that would interest me. I mean, I bought the two SG1 movies just cause I wanted to support the franchise, and I have never watched them. I thought it would help in some small way to keep Atlantis on the air, more fool I…
    But since I am still bitter about SGA, there is absolutely nothing driving me to tune in.
    There are hundreds of shows out there that I have never watched, never will and have no desire to, simply because I know what I like and what I don’t. SGU now falls into that category.

  • Nothing new, this has happened before. The best example is Star Trek; every spinoff had its detractors before release, for no special reason. And I think Star Trek is the perfect example for Stargate, because since the first one science fiction tv series based most of its success in a cast of characters that fitted perfectly as a group.

    No Star Trek spinoff was -or could- be so good as the original, and the same happens with Starget, of course. SGU won’t be a bad series, but no one can pretend it to be as good as SG1; its just the law of diminishing returns.

    Finally I’d like to add that Star Trek: Deep Space 9 was a complete ripp-off of Babylon 5, and not as good, but I liked it a lot more because instead of the serious-to-boredness alines of B5 it had the pulp-y and ever-funny aliens of Star Trek. It was funnier. SGU will be a ripp-off of Galactica, likely not so good, but… it will be in the Stargate universe, it will have the gates… and that’ll make it FAR more FUNNIER than Galactica… Almost for gaters, methinks. ;)

  • i ‘will’ give sgu a chance, when i tune in to watch my favorite character, sam carter, in the premier. if the show doesn’t grab me then…

    for the years that i’ve been in fandom, i’ve never seen the fans feeling as low as they do now. i’m feeling this too… :/

  • Yes there are Stargate fans out here, who are not watching the pilot, go figure A :-)

    You see trailers are supposed to entice you in, make you want to have a look, THAT’S WHAT THERE SUPPOSED TO DO, but when they leave you cold an uninterested, it kinda says something. For me they are awful, the cast doesn’t appeal either, oh an there are so many other things I’ve read that doesn’t appeal, like BW/RC Expanding Universe interview an countless more interviews, that do nothing to encourage me in. So why on earth would I want to watch the pilot. There are load of shows where the trailers did nothing for me an I never watched them, why is SGU any different. I liked SGA that’s my show, that’s the type of thing I enjoyed, SGA format not SG1, not the original movie but SGA, the other 2 were ok BUT SGA was great. SGU sorry just plain not interested no desire to watch, not against it just not interested, an I really still miss Atlantis.

  • I’ll certainly give the show a chance, but I’m not the only one who has doubts about how good the show will be.

    It sounds like they’re trying to distance Stargate from scifi, turning it into a drama.

    We’ll see how long it lasts, though i’d rather have more Atlantis than another spin off.

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